Shorewalk - End of Year Report Dec. 2005

Shorewalk was formed in August of 2005 in response to:

(a) The continued deterioration of some of Fort Erie’s public access routes to Lake Erie and the overcrowding on local beaches.

(b) Public frustration with the decades long inability to freely walk this shoreline which most of the public view as a birthright denied.

(c) News from a July/05 Michigan supreme court ruling which guaranteed the public in that state complete right of passage up to the high water mark on Michigan’s 3200 miles of Great Lakes shoreline. Much of the court’s ruling stems from the application of English common law, namely the concept that oceanside right of passage should also extend to the navigable waters of the Great Lakes since they are legally an extension of the oceans. We contend that these same rights should be equally available to Ontario’s public.

In August we presented a brief to Mayor Redekop and Signe Edgecomb, Parks and Open Space manager. It requested action on waterfront issues. While well received it was pointed out that more force would be given to a presentation representing a larger group.

We continue to build membership and research the case for a more pro-active municipal waterfront plan while recognizing the importance of the town’s acquisition of the Bay Beach property.

Former MPP Ray Haggerty brought to my attention a1950 amendment to the Beds of Navigable Waters Act which removed the Ministry of Natural Resources jurisdiction from high water mark to low water mark. This has had a very negative effect for public waterfront rights and we therefore call for restoration to the former interpretation of jurisdiction to the high water mark.

(a) Met with our provincial members of parliament Tim Hudak, Peter Kormos and Kim Craitor. All agreed to research the Michigan case for walking rights and the 1950 amendment to the Beds of Navigable Waters Act.

(b) Visited deteriorating lakefront road allowances at Stonemill and Bertie Bay Roads with municipal councilors Paul Fell and Richard Schular.

(c) Met with municipal councilor Tom Lewis and Town Planner Dave Heyworth regarding strengthening the waterfront clauses in the new Town Plan.

(d) With the help of Earl Plato began to research the historical context of our loss of waterfront rights. We visited the Special Collections branch of the Brock U. library and were able to obtain some important documentation.

(e) In a phone conversation councilor Anne Marie Noyes agreed that a survey of Centralia Beach road allowance with permanent markers is called for.

(f) Former councilor Tim Haggerty provides Shorewalk with a 2003 excellent town study of road allowance development done by Town Staff’s Signe Edgecomb. We find that it was endorsed by council in August 2003 but never acted on. Essentially, its recommendations become shorewalks recommendations.

(g) Presentations to council on Oct.11 and Oct. 24 requesting road allowance improvements with support from Shorewalk members: Amy King, Peggy Krieger, Paul Kassay, Lara Skerrett, Doug Taylor, Terry Lamorie, Ken Cardwell, John and Eleanor King, Don Lubberts, Jim and Barb Kuchyt, Bill Brunton, Margareta Skerrett, Rita Aguis, John Gardiner etc.

On Nov. 18 we were notified by the Town Clerk, Carolyn Kett that staff had completed a comprehensive report that included many of our recommendations and that it would go to council on Nov. 21. Our response was presented at the Nov. 21 council meeting by Dr. Martha Skerrett of Shorewalk. She congratulated the council on their proposals while voicing some concern regarding a number of issues including the continuing need to develop public access west of Point Abino. We also wait for final budgetary approval which should come very soon.

On November 30 we formed Shorewalk Port Colborne, headed by Lisa Ciolfi and Ryan Munro. They have begun to develop membership and research the issues particular to their area. Their initiative is welcome and should provide future benefits to the Port Colborne public.

(a) Toured the Oakville Linear Park and held conversations with their Parks Director Chris Mark.

(b) Met with Darcy Baker from the Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authority.

(c) Had several phone discussions with Joed Durst from the Ministry of Natural Resources.

(d) Chris Freiburger of Fort Erie established and maintains our website at www.shorewalk.ca. Many thanks to Chris who is also a member. His website is www.ffreelance.com

(e) Received useful documentation and advise and/or membership support from many others including: Shirley Grace, Scot and Sue Hepburn, Neal Skerrett, Pat Macdonald (Port Colborne lawyer and former mayor), Lisa Susin, Lara Skerrett, Peggy Fraser, Izaak de Rijke (Guelph property lawyer), Janet Truckenbrodt, and Gord Cumming (Thunder Bay Property Owners’ Association).

(f) Established a working association with:Don Lubberts of the Friends of Crystal Beach (68 members) and Bill Crosts of Pikes Bay on Lake Huron who is fighting similar issues (300 members).

(g) Followed the Port Stanley beaches issue and Ontario Municipal Board hearings with the help of Mary Jane Egan (reporter-London Free Press), Donald Leach (Central Elgin-CEO) and Bruce Blake (Central Elgin’s lawyer).

(h) Provided input to the new Parks and Recreation Plan being produced by the GSP Group.

(i) Established shorewalk membership on Georgian Bay (Parry Sound, Victoria Harbour), Lake Huron (Pikes Bay), Lake Erie (Kingsville, Port Stanley, Port Colborne) and Lake Ontario (Port Dalhousie, St. Catharines, Oakville, Mississauga, and Prince Edward County.

In Conclusion: Our Ontario Shorewalk Association seems to have had good success with local road allowance issues. That success will only be confirmed with their inclusion in the 2006 budget.

1. Monitor the progress of the town’s road allowance plans for 2006.

2. Work for inclusion in the new Town Plan of a long term strategy for continued expansion of our public shoreline.

3. Begin to address the issue of no public Fort Erie lake access west of the Point Abino gate.

4. Monitor the new Parks and Recreation Plan to see that it reflects the public interest in improving our shoreline access.

5. Expand our membership locally (now at 236) and provincially in order to move forward on our long term plan to regain our lost shore line. You can help a lot by joining at www.shorewalk.ca. and by urging your fiends to join this worthwhile campaign.

Thank you.

Garry Skerrett
Ontario Shorewalk Association


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Winter Update
January 2007

Fall Update
November 2006

Summer Update
July 2006

Spring Update
April 2006

End of Year Report
Dec. 2005